5 Ways To Continue Working Out Safely With Injury
If you’re a fitness enthusiast, getting injured while training or competing can be demotivating. But you needn’t worry that your hard work will go to waste while you recover. With smart planning, you can continue to train throughout your rehabilitation process, providing your doctor says you’re safe to do so. Here are some tips to get you back into a fitness program.
1. Adopt Low-Impact Exercise
If you have a joint injury, low-impact exercise allows you to train without putting unnecessary stress on your body. There are plenty of ways you can incorporate non-ballistic exercise into your routine. Walking, cycling and dancing are all fun, gentle ways you can remain active. However, one of the best ways to stay fit and healthy is to swim regularly. In fact, if you’re prone to joint injury or if your doctor predicts you may have a long recovery process ahead of you, it may be beneficial to look into pool loans so you can have a pool of your own to use as much as you need.
2. Avoid Working Through Pain
Training through pain is a bad idea for two reasons. First, pain is your body’s way of telling you you’re pushing your body too hard. If you ignore the message, you can aggravate the injury and make it worse or prolong your recovery. Second, it’s instinctive to avoid feeling pain. If certain movements or activities cause discomfort, you may adapt your form to prevent them from hurting, even if you don’t realize you’ve done so. Continued poor form can lead to further injury in the future.
One of the most common reasons for injury is through people not warming-up properly. Muscles are cold and stiff when you first move around. You need to warm them up so blood can flow to them. Increased blood flow softens and relaxes muscles, reducing the risk of them overstretching or tearing. It also helps relieve delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in the days following exercise. A thorough warm-up lasts 10-15 minutes and incorporates all the muscles and movements you plan on using in your workout.
Often, you can continue to train through injury using the same activities you usually do by modifying the way you train. If you enjoy running, can you power walk instead? If you typically train on a road bike, can you switch to a sit-down exercise bike? If your goal is a calorie burn, can a hot yoga class or barre class achieve the same level of energy expenditure and muscle activation as a weight workout? If you’re unsure what appropriate alternatives are, speak with your doctor or with a fitness professional.
5. Use the POLICE Method
POLICE is a method of recovery. It stands for protect, optimum loading, ice, compression, and elevation and is often recommended by medical professionals as a treatment for a sports-related injury. Your first action is to protect your injury. That means resting and, depending on the severity, using an aid such as a crutch, cast, bandage or brace. Optimum loading is when you begin moving the injured area, increasing the movement and intensity over time while keeping the area protected still. Throughout the recovery process, ice and compression with a tight bandage can reduce inflammation and reduce pain. Finally, keeping your injured area elevated above your heart reduces blood flow to the injury, which also prevents swelling and the associated pain. Taking these steps allows you to recover faster and more effectively.
Don’t let an injury get you down. Apply the same commitment you show to your regular training to your recovery program, and you’ll get back to peak fitness before you know it.